こんにちは！ A few days ago Paul and I went to Tokyo for a fantastic weekend. His principal is retiring and wanted to have an enkai (a Japanese work party) on a boat in Tokyo Bay! For ease of travel and relaxation, we decided to make it a weekend trip.
We splurged a bit and got a room with a view of Tokyo Tower and Mount Fuji at the Park Hotel Tokyo.
If you feel like paying a bit more, I highly recommend this place! It’s kind of a cross between a hotel and an art gallery. The lobby was full of art, and at night there was a projected piece on the wall.
There are also several Artist Rooms you can choose! (Photos courtesy of the Park Hotel Tokyo website):
Besides being beautiful with fantastic views both inside and outside, the staff there was very kind and courteous! I always feel awkward and out of place in fancy places like these – our budget is usually under $100 a night, the cheaper the better. We stayed at an upscale hotel in Ueno for an anniversary and a birthday, and both times the staff gave our traveling clothes and backpacks the side-eye and generally made us feel unwelcome.
But not so here!
Also, they had an amazing breakfast buffet. It’s been months since I’ve had a real, proper breakfast! (Breakfast food is not a thing in Japan.)
On Saturday woke up early and took the train to Tokyo Disneyland! Our friends Katie and Jansen met us there. Mickey Mouse already had quite a line at 8 in the morning:
Instead of waiting in the hour-and-a-half line for Space Mountain, we grabbed a fast-pass ticket so we wander the park and skip the line between 11:30 and 12:30. We went ahead and stood in line at the Star Wars: the Adventures Continues.
This was at 9am:
Luckily, I had some cool people I could hang out with in the hour-long line!
This was probably my favourite exhibit. I love attractions that make you feel like you’re flying! Paul and Jansen had gone through this a year ago, and they said it had changed and was much better. I definitely liked it!
Katie and I rocked our 3-D glasses.
The lovely castle:
We stood in line at Big Thunder Mountain, but the wait time was an hour and a half and we hardly moved at all in ten minutes.
We abandoned the line in favour of some turkey legs.
While we were in line, the 10:00 Frozen parade started. People had laid out picnic blankets along the route an hour before to get a good spot, but we could see just fine from way back!
We hopped on the Mark Twain ferry. Paul and I tried to recreate the Titanic scene, but it just turned out…weird.
Paul photobombed a lot of my pictures:
And we stopped by the Haunted Mansion! I enjoyed how hokey it was. Wish I’d seen it as a little kid, I’d’ve been terrified!
We finished in time to head over to Space Mountain, which is a roller coaster in the dark. It was awesome! (No pics, was too busy zipping through the line, yay fast pass!)
Afterwards, it was only 12:30 and we were beat. We headed back to the station and took the train to Tokyo Station, where we had lunch at Bubby’s. Thankfully none of us felt the need to keep up a conversation, and we all just went through the meal in a daze.
After resting at a Starbucks for an hour, Jansen went to meet some friends and Paul, Katie, and I headed to Asakusa to catch the boat. (Katie’s principal is friends with Paul’s principal, so there were teachers from two different schools at the enkai.) We passed by the Asahi Beer Headquarters. The building on the left is a mug of beer; I can’t remember what that golden thing on the right is supposed to be, but we call it the Golden Poop.
We had no idea what to expect for a boat enkai. We were pleasantly surprised! (The outside picture is from after we got off the boat. The boat left at 4:30pm.)
Lots of good food. Paul and Katie’s principals apparently had a battle over whether we’d be eating okonomiyaki or tempura. Despite it being Paul’s principal’s retirement enkai, Katie’s principal won, so we had tempura.
There was shrimp, sweet potato, and a lot of fish tempura. Also some kind of flowers!
(Also, it was nomihodai, or all-you-can-drink! I had several mugs of tap beer, but strangely, it didn’t affect me…)
On the right is a bowl of pickled vegetables (cabbage and daikon, or Japanese radish). I think I ate most of that bowl. On the left is pureed daikon and ginger, which we mixed into the tempura sauce.
No Japanese enkai is complete without sashimi!
And some weird mussels (?) that I did not touch. I’m a bit skittish around shellfish here.
And nabe (Japanese hotpot) with chicken, meatballs, mushrooms, veggies, and tofu!
Beautiful view outside the boat:
Afterwards, we headed to Tokyo Station to check out a stationary store. We almost had a train car to ourselves…drat!
We finished the night at a cafe. Since it’s nearly spring, everything is sakura-themed!
Sunday we slept in, enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the hotel, and headed to Diver City in Odaiba for some shopping. (This is an old photo from last November, I didn’t actually take any pictures this day because I was too busy eating pizza and shopping!)
At last we headed home, a two-hour train ride from Odaiba to Tatebayashi. As one last hurrah, I got a Starbucks Sakura Blossom Cream Latte.
It was an awesome weekend! I’m not sure that Disneyland is my thing – standing in line for an hour and a half for a five-minute ride doesn’t quite seem worth it for me – but I had lovely companions to pass the time with and I’m glad I got to go.
Until next time! またね！
(Thank you Paul and Katie for letting me use your pictures of me!)